The impact of the ransomware attack on Toronto’s Sick Children’s Hospital could last for weeks.
in an online statement today The hospital said it estimated it would take a few weeks for all systems to function normally. To date there is no evidence that personal information or personal health information has been affected.
Clinical and operational teams are implementing backup procedures for systems that are not yet accessible, the statement said. “This is a fluid and evolving situation that is still under investigation,” it says.
“While we can confirm that this is a ransomware attack, SickKids is preparing for such attacks, and has quickly mobilized to mitigate potential impacts to continuity of care. We are working to resolve the situation as soon as possible.” Worked swiftly with third-party expert organizations and law enforcement to investigate.”
Urgent and emergency care as well as scheduled appointments and procedures are continuing, even as affected systems are being brought back online. However, clinical teams are currently facing delays in receiving lab and imaging results, which the hospital says can result in longer wait times for patients and families.
The hospital says patients and families can continue to communicate with their care teams as they normally would. To date there is no evidence that personal information or personal health information has been affected.
SickKids, which dates back to 1875, is Canada’s largest hospital for the treatment of children. It operates with an annual budget of $1.21 billion, of which 62 percent comes from the province of Ontario.
Ransomware attacks on hospitals are continuing as usual, said Brett Calo, a British Columbia-based threat analyst and ransomware specialist with Emisisoft. “Frankly, we haven’t made nearly enough progress in tackling the ransomware problem. If we don’t find ways to protect our healthcare system, people could die. And that’s especially true at a time when our Hospitals are already stretched and in some cases, beyond breaking point.
Robert Wong, who recently led a Ontario Provincial Expert Panel on Cyber Security in the Broader Public Sector – which includes healthcare – said it was very unfortunate to hear that Sick Kids Hospital has been the victim of a ransomware attack. “It is abhorrent that a health care facility that treats the most vulnerable patients (our children) is specifically targeted at this time of year. It just reinforces the fact that any institution, no matter how large or younger, is not safe from these types of attacks. Continued awareness of these risks and vigilance by everyone is vital to prevent these incidents from occurring. I hope Sick Kids returns to full service in its system as soon as possible. Will be able to recover and will be able to provide vital services to their patients without any hindrance.